NEW YORK (AP) — It is a big day for the Hurley brothers, the point guards-turned-coaches who have their surprising teams in contention for NCAA Tournament bids.
Former Duke guard Bobby Hurley has Buffalo in the Mid-American Conference championship game against top-seeded Central Michigan on Saturday night in Cleveland. The winner gets an automatic NCAA bid.
Hurley’s younger brother, Dan, has guided Rhode Island to the Atlantic 10 semifinals, where the third-seeded Rams will face second seed Dayton in Brooklyn.
On Friday night, second-seeded Buffalo beat Akron 68-59, and Rhode Island topped George Washington, 71-58. And both Hurleys got technical fouls within about an hour of each other for losing their tempers with officials.
“Did he?” Dan said when told that Bobby also drew a T. “These are intense games. The coaches and the players have a lot on the line, and I think that that should probably be considered a little bit. Both our teams won, too, right?”
The Hurleys are the sons of one of the most successful high school coaches in the country. Bob Hurley has led St. Anthony’s High School in Jersey City, New Jersey, to 27 state championship and more than 1,000 victories in 39 seasons.
The Hurley parents were in Brooklyn on Friday night to watch Dan and Rhode Island.
“It’s a neat thing for me,” said Dan Hurley, who played at Seton Hall. “I got raised in the game. This has been my life and I know he’s proud of his sons, not just … obviously the winning, but the way we run our programs, the way our players compete for us. I’m proud that he’s a proud dad.”
Dan Hurley has quickly rebuilt Rhode Island. The Rams (22-9) have gone from eight wins to 14 to 22 in three seasons under Hurley, who spent two seasons at Wagner in New York before taking the URI job. Rhode Island will likely need to win the A-10 tournament and an automatic bid to reach the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1999.
Buffalo has never played in the NCAA Tournament, but Bobby Hurley has Bulls fans believing. The Bulls have won seven straight heading into the MAC title game. The last loss came against Central Michigan.
“Since we lost by one at home to Central, we picked it up (the defensive) end of the floor,” Hurley said. “We held teams in 60s and 50s the majority of the time here on the streak.”
Hurley is almost as big a star after two seasons in Buffalo as he was at Duke, where he led the Blue Devils to three Final Fours and consecutive national titles in 1991 and ’92.
After the Bulls won Friday night their fans chanted “Bob-by Hur-ley!” as he left the court.
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